Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a seasoned on-campus senior, dorm living is a unique experience. Besides a bed, dresser, desk and closet, your dorm room is a blank slate that comes with its share of positives and negatives. Find out how you can turn your home-away-from-home into home-sweet-home.

  1. Don’t rely on dining hall hours.

There are many reasons why you may not be able to depend on the dining hall for all of your meals, from class times and job schedules to limits on your meal plan allowance. Keep hunger at bay with a mini fridge and microwave, and satisfy your caffeine cravings (or fuel an all-nighter) with a personal coffeemaker. Keep a stash of quick food on hand, like cereal, granola bars and fruit. Just don’t forget the ramen noodles—it’s a tradition!

  1. Tune out the noise.

One of the hardest things to acclimate to in communal living is the constant noise. Besides the cacophony of sound throughout the building, you’ll also need to share a small space with (at least) one other person. Keep a steady supply of earbuds for those nights you need to get to bed early or study and they’re binge-watching Netflix. Quality noise-cancelling headphones can tune out their music if they’re a little bit country and you’re a little bit rock ’n’ roll.

  1. Make good use of wall space.

What dorm rooms lack in real estate they make up for in wall space. Use those walls to reflect your personality, and surround yourself with the things you love. Some schools prohibit permanently altering the walls with nails or thumbtacks, so invest in temporary hanging strips and graphic decals to avoid a fine.

  1. Take control of the temperature.

Most dorm rooms don’t have adjustable thermostats, so you’re at the mercy of whoever has control over them in the building. While the heat could be too low in the winter, it could also be too high, and the likelihood is you won’t be enjoying any AC in your room. Buying a fan and a space heater (if your school allows) are easy ways to stay comfortable in all seasons.

  1. Rise up…your bedframe.

Take storage wherever you can find it. Bed risers are an inexpensive way to give yourself an extra 4 to 6 inches under your bed. You may even want to take it a step further and invest in risers that have built-in outlets and USB ports for charging your phone, laptop and tablet.

  1. Get comfy.

College beds are known for their odd length (who came up with extra-long twin beds, anyway?)—not their comfort. A simple mattress topper can make the difference between tossing and turning all night and waking refreshed in the morning… or afternoon.

  1. Stay healthy.

College dorms are breeding grounds for communal illnesses. In addition to the small space you occupy with your roommate(s), you also share the bathrooms, showers, dining halls, stairs, elevators, etc. with every other student in your building. Clean your room with disinfectant wipes often, especially if your roommate is sick, up your vitamin game and remember to wear flip-flops in the shower to avoid spending all semester at the health center.

Now that you’ve successfully decked out your room, you may notice you don’t have space to keep everything you brought from home. Store your off-season clothes, extra blankets and other nonessentials to keep your room clutter-free. Contact the experts at Gotham Mini Storage, the Manhattan mini storage experts and move your belongings into a secure, climate-controlled unit today!